National Wildfire Coordinating Group

S-482, Strategic Operational Planning, 2015

Decorative banner: Three photos of wildland fire strategic operational planners. Three men standing at wall mounted map pointing to locations. Man pointing to map tapped to truck. Four wildland firefighters reviewing maps spread out on top of vehicle hood.

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This course was developed using a blended approach to learning. Students are required to complete the online training portion of the course before taking the instructor-led training portion.

S-482 is a course designed to meet the training needs of a Strategic Operational Planner (SOPL) on an incident as outlined in NIMS: Wildland Fire Qualification System Guide, PMS 310-1, and the position task book developed for the position. The online component provides background (historical and foundational) information on why the SOPL position exists and the critical role the position plays in incident management. It also describes the typical responsibilities and activities a SOPL performs on an incident. In the instructor-led component, students apply the knowledge they gained in the online component (the “knowing”) to actual practice performing the typical activities of a SOPL (the “doing” or the “how-to”).


  • Perform basic tasks commonly required of a Strategic Operational Planner (SOPL) and possess the knowledge to successfully accomplish SOPL trainee assignments.

Target Group

Primary target group is personnel desiring to become qualified as a SOPL. However, this course may also be beneficial to Agency Administrators, Incident Commanders, Fire Management Officers, and incident and unit staff who have direct fire planning and implementation responsibilities.

It is recommended that students have an introductory level of experience using the Wildland Fire Decision Support System (WFDSS) (e.g., navigating, finding situation awareness information, and locating approved Incident Decisions). 

Prerequisite Qualifications and Training


Session Offerings

Sessions of this course may be available in the NWCG Wildland Fire Learning Portal (WFLP). Enrollment requires an account. Log on as a guest to search for session offerings of this course and to view other public content. To search for a specific course, use the FIND LEARNING menu at the top of the page, then select UPCOMING COURSES. To view Geographic Area training schedules, select the specific GEOGRAPHIC AREA information using the drop-down menu at the top of the page. Contact your local Training Officer for more information about local course sessions.



S-482 is available as a blended training (online and classroom) instructor-led training.

Course Components and Hours to Complete

Course Component Course Time
Pre-course work N/A
Pre-selection assessment N/A
Online training 10-16
Instructor-led training 24
Total Hours 34-40

Course Level

Regional, state, or area

Minimum Instructor Qualifications

Lead and unit instructors must be a qualified Strategic Operational Planner (SOPL) and have experience in managing wildfires for the full range of protection and resource benefit objectives.

See NWCG Standards for Course Delivery, PMS 901-1, Instructor Standards for more information.

Certification Date:

2015-06 - View the NWCG certification statement for this course

Previous Certification Dates:

  • None


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